VCU Stronger Together

September 12, 2017

Dear VCU Students,

As we enjoy the excitement and promise of the beginning of this academic year, we are also dealing with apprehension, anger and uncertainty around recent actions of hate and violence, political polarization, the rescission of DACA and two devastating hurricanes. At the same time, countless human beings are suffering throughout the world. We have all been impacted by these events, yet it has been encouraging to see so many people throughout our community and the nation stepping up and coming together to respond to these challenges. There is no better time than now for us to affirm the value of each member of our community, disavow all forms of hate and acknowledge that VCU is Stronger Together.

President Rao has been unequivocal regarding the university’s stance related to safety, security, inclusion and social climate issues at VCU. He has emphasized the core values of our university community including inclusion, free speech and civil discourse. President Rao’s leadership is critical to our community’s success at addressing difficult issues and situations. However, unless we as community members do our fair share to build a just and inclusive university environment, it will be insufficient. We must accomplish this work together. We must stand against hate. We must demonstrate our conviction that violence against any human being is never acceptable.
 
During the weeks and months to come, there will be many opportunities to celebrate our diverse university community while strengthening our connections and exploring ways to work together to make VCU stronger:

· Sept. 12: Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz will be speaking on campus.
· Sept. 12: Authors Tiffany Jana and Matthew Freeman will be signing copies of their book “Overcoming Bias: Building Authentic Relationships Across Differences” at Barnes and Noble VCU.
· Sept. 12-15: The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs will be hosting the Hip-Hop Summit throughout the week.
· Sept. 13: VCU Rec Sports Health and Wellness Expo
· Sept. 15: Latinx Heritage Month kick-off event.
· Sept. 15: Student Affairs and VCU SGA present How does the VCU RAMily Respond to Hate?
· Sept. 20: You Can't Say That!: What Does the U.S. Constitution Protect in Terms of Free Speech?
· Sept. 22: Roundtable sponsored by the Student Government Association with President Rao as a guest speaker.
· Sept. 27: An interactive program on student rights and responsibilities with regards to activism and demonstrations.
· Sept. 29-30: The Division of Inclusive Excellence’s Building Inclusive Communities student workshops.
· Oct. 8-10: The return of the UNITY Project.

These are only a few of the many opportunities where students, faculty and staff will demonstrate and discuss how we can be stronger together. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions for additional events or activities centered on making our university community stronger together.

I hope that you will work towards making VCU a stronger community by working with others across our similarities as well as our differences. The Division of Student Affairs and VCU Student Government Association are ready to assist you in this important endeavor. Please do not hesitate to contact departments in the division or VCU SGA if we can be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Charles Klink, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost
Division of Student Affairs 

Destinee’ Moragne
Student Government President

Reflection Space

August 14, 2017

The Division of Student Affairs will be hosting a Reflection Space on Tuesday, August 15 from 12:00-2:00 p.m., for students related to the events from this past weekend in Charlottesville. This space is designed to provide an opportunity for students to reflect, play games, watch movies, color and provide opportunities for self care to those who need it. There will not be a facilitated conversation around the events, but rather we anticipate smaller conversations organically happening in the space. 
 
Reflection space will be available on the Monroe Park Campus in the OMSA office (University Student Commons, Room 215) and the University Student Commons Shockoe Room. The OMSA space will be more active and the Shockoe Room will be a quiet space.
 
Reflection space will be available on the MCV Campus in the Hunton Student Center 1st Floor Lobby and Conference Room.

Inclusive community at VCU

February 7, 2017

We have learned of recent incidents that have had a negative impact on our community at VCU.  These incidents conflict with our institutional core values of diversity and inclusion.  It demeans and disrespects members of our VCU community and diminishes our goal of creating a safe and welcoming campus environment for everyone.

VCU is committed to creating and promoting an environment free from racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, homophobia, ableism, and xenophobia. As such, the university strongly condemns bias-related acts.

However, often times, the expression of personal views in personal social media falls within free speech protections, even when the views are offensive or include language deemed profanity.

In this case and in any case when bias-related incidents are reported, appropriate VCU personnel review the incident to address important issues of diversity and inclusion with the involved students. Appropriate VCU personnel also assess any potential threats to safety or creation of an environment hostile to particular groups. In addition, VCU holds students accountable for any violation of University policy and refers information to law enforcement officials, if appropriate.

If you have concerns related to these incidents, we encourage you to utilize resources available to support students such as The Office of Multicultural Affairs, Dean of Students Office, and University Counseling Services. Please also visit the Bias Response Team website and the Division of Inclusive Excellence for more information and additional support.

We appreciate your efforts to make VCU an inclusive community.

Welcome Back Spring 2017

January 19, 2017

Opportunities:
Student Representatives to the VCU Board of Visitors for 2017-2018
Applications will be accepted through Friday, February 17 from students interested in serving as a student representative to the VCU Board of Visitors during the 2017-2018 academic year. Information about eligibility and the application process can be found 
online.

Scholarship Money for 2017-2018
$165,000 of scholarship awards are being offered through the VCU Department of Business Services. These scholarships are open to all VCU students and vary from $500 to $4,000. Scholarship applications are available online and must be submitted by Thursday, February 16. Contact Stephen Monroe at 828-3637 or smonroe@vcu.edu if you have additional questions about these scholarship opportunities. 

Graduation Regalia Assistance 2017
A fund has been established to provide those with financial need assistance in purchasing regalia for Commencement 2017. Students may request an application for Regalia Assistance and more information, including deadlines to apply by visiting the 
online website.

Building Inclusive Communities Workshop
The Division of Inclusive Excellence will be hosting a student focused workshop to assist undergraduate and graduate students to learn about diversity and creating a truly engaged diverse and inclusive campus environment. More information is available by emailing 
inclusive@vcu.edu or visiting their website.

On Campus Housing for 2017-2018
Housing applications for returning students will be available through 
VCU Residential Life and Housing beginning January 20 and must be completed no later than February 10 at noon to be eligible for on-campus housing for the 2017-2018 contract period.

Welcome Back Events
The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs will host an open house on Friday, January 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the University Student Commons, Room 215.

VCU Recreational Sports is hosting their 
Welcome Back Bash on Tuesday, January 24 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Cary Street Gym. 

VCU Student Media Center, located at 817 W. Broad St., is holding an open house for interested students on Friday, February 3 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Updates:
Resources on Sexual Misconduct and Gender Discrimination
In compliance with federal law (Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)), VCU prohibits gender discrimination. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, is a form of gender discrimination prohibited by Title IX. VCU is dedicated to creating a community that encourages the reporting of all incidents of sexual misconduct and the prompt and fair resolution of sexual misconduct complaints. 
Additional information is available online. For additional information contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, Ms. Tammi Slovinsky at  827-1963 or tslovinsky@vcu.edu

Safety:
Creating and maintaining a safe campus environment is everyone’s responsibility at VCU.  It is important that each of us develop sound personal safety habits and many tips are available on the 
VCU Police website. Call VCU Police at 828-1234 to report unusual or suspicious behavior or download the LiveSafe mobile app for smart phones.  LiveSafe users can send tips, photos and videos to VCU Police and receive real-time responses, 24/7.

Familiarize yourself with the 
VCU Alert page and, if you have not already, sign up for security and other alert text messages. Use RamSafe, by calling 828-SAFE, visiting the website or using the VCU mobile app for transportation to on-campus locations and nearby residences and buildings. 

State of the student body

November 14, 2016

Good morning to all VCU students,

My name is Katie Clark, and I am currently the president of the Monroe Park Campus Student Government. 

As most know, there have been lots of emotions surrounding the outcomes of last week's elections, locally and nationally. One of the great things about our country is our freedom to vote - and vote any way we want. Some of us may feel celebratory with the election results, others of us may feel disappointed. But in this time, I ask that we all try to the best of our abilities to stay united as a university, to be accepting of each other, and to remember that here at VCU, we are an inclusive university who respects all of our fellow students, faculty, and staff.

With that being said, I say to all students who may be hurting during this time that it is your right to heal. I will remind everyone of the resources that our university offers to students. Both the University Counseling Services in the University Student Commons, Room 238 and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs in the University Student Commons, Room 215, are here to support students. Faculty, staff, administration and your SGA on both campuses are all here to support the students of VCU. Please reach out to any member of the SGA if you need a space to express your concerns.

I want to assure you all that VCU will remain an inclusive institution, and we will remind all students to uphold the values of VCU and the student body.

On a personal note, I ask that we all be kind to one another, today, tomorrow, and forever. We are the future of this world. We came to VCU to get an education and change the world. I ask that we all remember that knowledge is power and to use this as a motivation to continue with our studies here at VCU, and take our education seriously so that we can shape tomorrow for the better. I speak on behalf of VCU when I say, I believe in all of you and the positive future you all hold for this nation. 

Please be kind and stay safe. 

Thank you,

Katie J. Clark
VCU MPC SGA President

Monroe Park Closure

November 10, 2016

Historic Monroe Park will be closed to the public beginning Monday, November 14, 2016 and reopen in late 2017, or early 2018. During this period, sidewalks bordering the park will be closed along Laurel, Franklin and Belvidere. Please use the sidewalks across these streets from the park. The Campus Connector will cease service to the Franklin and Laurel Street (Johnson Hall) stop beginning on Monday, Nov. 14. Passengers should proceed to Cabell Library for service.

The oldest park in Richmond will be upgraded to 21st century environmental standards while preserving aspects of its historical significance; the fountain will be restored, as will the primary structure the Checkers House, in a future phase. “VCU loves Monroe Park so much that we named our main academic campus for it,” said VCU President Michael Rao. “In many ways, it feels like our front yard. The Park and the new Institute for Contemporary Art together are transforming this neighborhood, and we’re excited to partner with the City of Richmond to make it happen.”

Some FAQs from the Monore Park Conservancy website are highlighted here:

  • The renovation start will start early November 2016
  • The park will be a closed construction zone and construction will take 12 – 18 months
  • Monroe Park will remain a public park with access for all. 

Below is a list of locations that offer resources to area homeless persons. VCU students students interested in making donations or doing volunteer work are encouraged to view VCU clubs or organizations who support these efforts or to reach out to these organizations directly.

Homeless Points of Entry (HPE)

Commonwealth Catholic Charities

  • Hours: Mon - Fri 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Address: 511 W. Grace Street, Richmond VA 23220
  • Phone: (804) 285-9130
  • Emergency Shelter

Daily Planet

  • Hours: Mon - Fri. 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Address: 517 W. Graces St, Richmond VA 23220
  • Phone: (804) 783-0678
  • Medical, dental, mental health care, substance abuse services, laundry & shower provisions 

Food Services near VCU

Greater Mount Moriah

  • Address: 913 N. 1st Street, Richmond VA 
  • Hours: Lunch/ Mon- Fri/ 12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
  • Contact Virginia 2-1-1 for help finding area food pantries

With the discontinued food services at the Salvation Army, please speak with the HPE’s about breakfast & Dinner sites.

Quality of Life Resources

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

  • Hours: 24/7
  • Phone: (804) 819-4100
  • Crisis Intervention services for persons who are homeless & need mental health treatment

Veterans Affairs Homeless Call Center

  • Hours: 24/7
  • Phone: 1-877-424-3838 (text messages accepted)
  • Access to trained counselors for local resources

Richmond City Dept. Social Services

  • Hours: Mon-Fri. 8 a.m. - 4p.m.
  • Phone: (804) 646-2064
  • Intake & referral; entitlement programs (TANF, Food Stamps, WIC Vouchers & General Relief)

The Healing Place

  • Phone: (804) 230-1217
  • Overnight men’s emergency shelter & social detox program

The Regional Domestic & Sexual Violence hotline

  • Phone: (804) 612-6126

In addition to these sites, homeless persons are encouraged to visit the Richmond Public Library, as that facility is open to all members of the public. 

Election 2016 Information

October 14, 2016

Dear Students,

As we approach midterms and the upcoming rush to the end of the semester, I wanted to acknowledge that for many students this is a time of stress and increased external pressure. Although these feelings are normal, they can be difficult to manage at times. Even if this is not your experience, you may be aware of those around you laboring as the semester draws to a close.

If you are feeling stressed, I encourage you to reach out to others – family, friends, advisors, faculty members, supportive others. It is helpful to reflect back on other stressful times to remind yourself that you navigated your way through the difficulties. Practice good self-care, focus on nutrition, schedule study breaks, get enough sleep, exercise, and avoid alcohol and other drugs.

Utilize available resources including University Counseling Services (UCS), to talk with someone or utilize their self-help resources. UCS has walk-in availability daily. UCS also offers a useful tool to all students to assist with having supportive conversations with classmates that may be experiencing stress or having a difficult time. To access this, visit the UCS website and click on "At-Risk for College Students" to get started. Visit The Wellness Resource Center to discuss stress management techniques or utilize the many resources on their website.

I would encourage each one of us to be mindful of ways that we can encourage and support one another. Let someone know that you care about them and support them. We each have a responsibility to let individuals know that help is all around them and that seeking help is the right step during difficult times.

I wish you the very best as you navigate midterms and finish the semester. I appreciate your efforts to make VCU a truly caring community.

Sincerely,

Charles J. Klink
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Election 2016 Information

September 23, 2016

Important dates

Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Monday, October 17, 2016
Deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Deadline to request an absentee ballot by appearing in-person is 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 5, 2016

In the news

As presidential election approaches, VCU students seek to register to vote classmates, disenfranchised populations in Richmond

Welcome Back Fall 2016

August 25, 2016

Welcome to campus and the start of another great academic year at Virginia Commonwealth University! I wanted to provide some important information for you.


Division of Student Affairs Resources
The Division of Student Affairs offers many resources to support your success as a first-year student, returning student, transfer student, graduate student and professional student at VCU.  Please take full advantage of services offered through our 14 different offices as well as opportunities for involvement in student organizations, activities and programs.  Visit us in person or 
online to learn more about how we can help you.  

Advisory Board Opportunities
We are seeking applicants to serve on two important advisory boards, the Provost’s Student Advisory Council and the Student Budget Advisory Council.

*Provost’s Student Advisory Council
Dr. Gail Hackett is the university’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  She is responsible for students enjoying a high-quality educational experience during their time at VCU. Meeting two times each semester, members of the council provide feedback to the Provost about programs, services and issues that impact students and their success at the university. Click here for more information about Dr. Hackett and her office.

*Student Budget Advisory Committee
The Student Budget Advisory Committee’s purpose is to provide feedback and advice to the Vice President for Finance and Budget Karol Gray.  Meeting four times each semester, members of the committee will provide feedback on a wide range of responsibilities related to budget and finance. Click here for more information about the Office of Finance and Budget.

To apply, please complete the online applications for the Student Advisory Council or Student Budget Advisory Committee opportunity.

Safety  
Creating and maintaining a safe campus environment is everyone’s responsibility at VCU.  It is important that each of us develop sound personal safety habits and many resources are available on the VCU Police website.

  • Call VCU Police at 828-1234 to report unusual or suspicious behavior or download the LiveSafe mobile app to send texts, photos and videos directly to VCU PD 24/7.
  • Familiarize yourself with the VCU Alert page and sign up for security and other alert text messages.
  • RamSafe provides free transportation service to on-campus locations and nearby residences and buildings for VCU faculty, students and staff. Call 828-SAFE or visitramsafe.vcu.edu between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. You can also access this service through the VCU mobile app.


Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Based Harassment
VCU is committed to providing an environment free from sexual misconduct, assault, harassment or any sex/gender discrimination that may violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other state and federal laws. VCU will offer reasonable and appropriate measures to protect a complainant and facilitate the complainant’s continued access to university employment or education programs and activities. To make a report and for additional information, please visit http://equity.vcu.edu/titleix/.  For additional information contact the Title IX Coordinator Laura Rugless (804) 828-6404 lrugless@vcu.edu or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator in Student Affairs, Tammi Slovinsky, at 827-1963 or tslovinsky@vcu.edu

Threat Assessment and Violence Prevention
Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to providing faculty, staff, and students with an environment that is safe, secure and free from threats, intimidation and violence.  
All members of the VCU community are encouraged to become familiar with the Threat Assessment and Violence Prevention Policy. This policy details the procedure and process for reporting threats and violence.  The policy also outlines the nature of the University’s Threat Assessment Team and its responsibilities.

Citizenship and Civility
We encourage all students to become active members in our university community, the Richmond community, and in national and international communities.  Use your voting rights this fall to help shape local, state and national policy.  Our country and world currently face many challenging issues related to race, religion, political affiliation, immigration, ecological change, equity and justice, violence and a host of other complex issues.  It is imperative, that in spite of our many different experiences, perspectives and opinions, that we find a way to engage in discussion that contributes to community building.

VCU Athletics
Support VCU student athletes by attending and cheering on teams at events such as a fall soccer match, field hockey game, or tennis match. 

Please always feel free to contact me in person, by phone or email.  I am always interested in your success and how we might support you in reaching your goals.